Japanese artist Kanako Shintaku covers her entire, naked body in paint. From the hair on her head to the nails on her toes, everything is covered in multi-colored paint, essentially creating a new, alien skin. Her artwork is presented in the form of a performance that can last 4 – 8 hours, as well as self-portrait photography.
Shintaku grew up in a troubled household, she explains in a recent interview. Eventually, to cope, she learned to separate her mind from her body, creating a state of consciousness that was somewhere in-between life and death. But our skin is like an antenna, she says, and by covering it in paint, the artist is able to confirm that, indeed, she’s still alive. Her solo exhibition in Kyoto last summer was titled “I’m still alive.” The extremely personal performance is her antidote to the painful human experience.
Shintaku’s performances run between 4 and 8 hours. Every 20 or 30 minutes, after the previous layer of paint dries, the artist applies a new layer, allowing it to drip down her body. She mixes starch into her paints to create more viscosity.
You can keep up with Shintaku Kanako and her work on Instagram.